Make the Most of Your Work Week

The nonprofit sector has been hit hard by the economic downturn. Lay-offs have cut already thin staffing levels even further, adding to many staff members’ already overscheduled work week.

The nonprofit sector has been hit hard by the economic downturn. Lay-offs have cut already thin staffing levels even further, adding to many staff members’ already overscheduled work week.

How do we, as nonprofit staff, manage to organize our time so that we do not become overwhelmed by all of the work that remains to be done? TSNE’s director of administration and human resources offers a few tips for making your week productive – and enjoyable.

While the image of staff members lingering by the coffee pot on Monday morning has become a cliché, let’s not be too quick to condemn folks for re-connecting with their colleagues at the start of the work week. Most of us work in highly collaborative environments. Being effective means maintaining open, trusting and cooperative relationships which are built, in part, on human connection. So a good morning, how was your weekend chat isn’t necessarily a waste of time.

And then ...

That said, spending Monday morning, or even the full day, easing in to the week is certainly not productive. I encourage people to spend a little bit of time at the end of the day Friday thinking about the upcoming week.

Make a List – and Another

Try making two lists.

Task-Level List. There is always value in the traditional, task-focused list. Personally, I even try to divide my tasks up between days. Doing so allows me to take meetings and other obligations into consideration and to balance my work throughout the week. That way, when I come in on Monday morning, I am not overwhelmed.

Macro-Level List. The other list I suggest people create is a more macro level one. It is often a good place to start, in fact.

  • What are the major things you hope to accomplish next week?
  • What concepts do you want to explore?
  • Are there relationships you want to strengthen? Strategies that need to be devised?

Often this list informs the creation of the tasks-focused one. Aside from helping people get organized, this list allows people to refocus on the more inspiring aspects of their jobs which can help make Monday an exciting beginning to another week of valuable and enjoyable work.


Lyn Freundlich provides human resources coaching and consulting services to nonprofit organizations. She also trains supervisors and accidental human resources practitioners through our capacity building training series and in their own organizations, networks and associations. Contact trainings@tsne.org for more information about these services.

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